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Poll of the Week: Character Species and You

Laria Herren

Poll of the Week: Character Species and You  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. How did you choose your character’s species?

    • I picked what I thought would be easiest to write well.
    • My favorite character was the same species.
    • I just really like the Trek species that I chose.
    • The species I chose had unique opportunities for storytelling and characterization.
    • There was not a specific rationale behind my decision.
    • Did you choose the species of your character for a different reason? Be sure to let us know below!

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On the wiki, the Intelligent Lifeform Index lists 188 different species that are permitted for player characters. This list includes the usual suspects like Humans, Vulcans, and Klingons. There are also plenty of species who only made a single appearance anywhere in any Star Trek series. Species original to Starbase 118 like Laudeans are also on the list. New writers have no shortage of choices when it’s time to pick a species for a character. But how can you narrow down so many choices to one?

A species like the Vulcans have a large collection of source material that can be drawn from. Decades of existing in the Trek universe have made the Vulcans very well-established. Meanwhile there are species that have little more than a name. The history, characteristics, and cultures of a species can influence how we write for our characters.

What helped you decide which species your character would be? Each species that you could choose makes a character unique and brings something unique to the table. A well-developed species with a rich history and culture provides plenty of material that can be used in sims. Meanwhile, helping to flesh out the worlds and customs of a less-explored species like the Bolians or the Deltans can be just as fulfilling. There is no right or wrong way to decide which species your character should be. How did you choose your character’s species? Be sure to cast your vote and let us know your thoughts!

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Personally El-Aurians have always been one of my favorites, younger writer me liked peppering those several hundred years most have under their belts by the time they join Starfleet with colorful events and a bit of mystery. The mystery surrounding their abilities as 'listeners' and their preternatural knowledge of, but-not-limited-to shifts in the space time continuum always adds a nice POV element. Their worldview must be pretty different, especially if they possess extra senses that we do not, which sometimes makes it hard to write (usually why I stay away from true telepaths) but is ultimately really rewarding as you try and think about their perspective and what informs their perceptions. This is where a lot of creativity comes in if you're playing a species without a lot of background or screen-time. Personally I love putting my anthropologist/sociologist hats on and thinking about what their societies must be like. Even something as basic as naming is pretty interesting. Across the world most Human surnames are patrilineal but Tahlin's surname isn't his father's or his even his mother's so where does it come from? I haven't entirely worked it out but the idea I have in the back of my mind is that El-Aurian surnames are complicated things that don't follow strict or familiar conventions as evidenced by the portrayal of both mononymous and polynymous individuals. 

And I think generally that's the kind of mixture of set variables, like what we see on screen or in books and the freedom to suppose or just entirely make up little bits for ourselves, that I personally look for when choosing a species. 

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Race selection is certainly one of the first things I think about when designing a character, but I generally have a rough idea of a concept before I get to that point. So I generally pick a race that fits that concept.

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Having been out of touch with Star Trek when I signed up and not knowing what to expect from SB118 and training, I went for the easy solution and made Samira human. Although, after a bit of research and depending on what I have in mind, most of the PNPC's I created so far, turn out to be a different species.

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I chose a Caitain because I liked the slant that STO gave to them. Much different from the Animated Series where we first found them. I'm more of a dog then a cat person. So my character has a dog, I thought it would be great to see a dusky tall felinoid with a little yellow dog. It would be a head turner on just about any Starbase or Outpost. R'rraww Hontrú was a silent character in lots of my early fan fiction and I thought it would be an interesting exercise to explore his youth and early career. So I brought him out of my fictional pages and brought him to our Sims.

13th MSG2.png

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